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Author: Jacob Berman, P3i Researcher

President Obama’s announcement awarding the manufacturing research consortium to North Carolina State University is welcome to the field of public-private partnerships. The award will combine $70 million from the U.S. Department of Energy with matching funds from the private sector in the field of semiconductors in electronics manufacturing. This consortium pairs seven universities, led by North Carolina State with 18 manufacturers including Toshiba, Vacon, Delta Products, and John Deere. The goal of the consortium, which is hopefully the first of three that the government will award, is in the White House’s words, to “bridge the gap between applied research and product development”.

One crucial tenet of this concept is that the government is providing the framework and a segment of the funding, but is not running the consortium itself. Rather, the government is letting the researchers and manufacturers take charge and dictate the agenda. This makes the consortium model extremely replicable in other countries and industries where governments may lack technical expertise. The consortium represents the administration’s increased recognition of the power of cross-sector collaboration. Hopefully other governments will take note.


At the 2013 Concordia Summit Andrew Liveris, member of President Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, spoke with Ari Matusiak, Director of Private Sector Engagement at the White House, and shared his thoughts on the critical next steps for re-building a secure global economy, and how to begin to re-engage youth for meaningful careers.